With knees placed firmly on her yoga mat, arms stretched overhead and face toward the floor, Nicole Craig felt tiny hooves scurry along her spine.
“It was like a little kid playing around on you,” said Craig after coming out of child’s pose.
What she felt was Sativa, a 5-month-old goat and star of Toke with a Goat Yoga sponsored by Laurel Highlands Hemp.
Classes are on Friday nights at Power Farms Equine Center at 4913 Logan Ferry Road in Murrysville.
The class was the first time for Craig and her husband, Robert, to do yoga with a goat. Nicole Craig is a yoga instructor at Serenity Hill Counseling and Wellness in Connellsville.
“It was a different experience, positive vibes,” said Robert Craig, who declined to have Sativa on his back. “I was definitely out of my comfort zone. Highly recommend it.”
The Greensburg couple said they heard about the class through social media.
“Just looking for something to do because there’s not much going on now with, you know,” Nicole Craig said. “It was fun. It was cool to have animal energy around you.”
This Friday will be the last session of the season and last hurrah for Sativa.
Laurel Highlands Hemp owner Maggie Power said she plans to have the Sativa retire and breed with Vincent Van Goat to make babies for next year’s classes.
Toke with a Goat Yoga began in June, a little later than expected due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Power provides pre-rolled CBD cigarettes and samples of other products at the start of the class to put everyone in a relaxed mood.
“We like to give people a moment at the end of the week to mellow out and have a minute for themselves after doing things for other people all week,” Power said. “They kind of hang out and smoke and enjoy the farm, then hang out with Sativa and go into yoga.”
Classes are $20. They are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. but usually do not start until about 8 p.m.
Instructor Emily Mains of Greensburg leads the group of about 10 or fewer people in a barn roughly the size of a three-car garage. Larger classes are usually taught in the nearby field.
“It definitely humbles you because you can’t take it too seriously,” Mains said about working with a goat. “It really helped me grow … I think it’s a great thing for first-time yoga people because you can’t take it seriously.”
Mains became a certified yoga instructor earlier this year through Yoga Flow Pittsburgh.
Mains said her teacher, Dominique Ponko, recommended teaching the class via text and sent a goat emoji.
“Having any animal is really therapeutic,” Mains said. “They are sympathetic. They can kind of sense your feelings. Having any animal around you in general gives you dopamine releases, serotonin releases. Combining that with yoga is just a perfect match.”
Sativa makes her way around the barn, mingling with participants and chewing on hay or hemp leaves. She occasionally sits next to the mats. Mains called her a good student.
“We’ve watched her go through her phases,” Mains said. “When we started, she was a baby. She would fall asleep at the end of class. She’s grown. She’s gotten more antsy. She jumps around more. She’s a lot more audible, which I think makes it a lot more fun.”
Spots are still available for the final Toke with a Goat Yoga class. More information is available at the Laurel Highlands Hemp Facebook page.
Power grew up on the Murrysville farm, which was owned by her grandparents Bill and Jan Power.
The equine center hosts a variety of health and wellness activities including meditation with horses. It is run by Maggie’s cousin, Amber Power.
“It’s just a really great non-judgmental safe place,” said Maggie Power.
Local | Murrysville Star | Westmoreland